Lives change. Cultural norms change. Watermark is ready.

Picture the year 1988. In the United States, Michael Jackson and George Michael topped the music charts. Moviegoers chuckled at Who Framed Roger Rabbit and swooned at Moonstruck. And members of the Greatest Generation — many of whom had fought in World War II and then worked hard to raise their families — were beginning to think about where to spend the remaining “golden years.”

Back then, senior housing was in its infancy. Seniors no longer wanted to live with their grown kids. What were the options? Most places were what we think of as the old folks’ home. But David Freshwater had an inkling about the changing demographics. He took a chance and opened The Fountains in Tucson, AZ — an innovative community where seniors could thrive.

Today, that original Fountains is part of Watermark Retirement Communities, along with more than 70 other communities across the United States. David’s hunch was right: It’s accepted that seniors want and deserve places to live where they can continue learning, exploring, and enjoying life.

Chinese cultural trends today are almost identical to the United States in the 1980s. Husbands and wives are working outside the home. People are moving from the countryside to cities. Housing is expensive and apartments are tiny. What’s more, because of the “one-child policy,” a single grandchild might be expected to care for all four grandparents.

At Watermark, we’ve followed the changing cultural norms throughout Asia and anticipate a huge need for senior housing. Watermark began exploring the China market back in 2011 with a strong desire to bring best practices, know-how, and lessons learned to senior community projects in China. Thus began a new chapter in our Watermark story.

Watermark formally entered China in October 2014, establishing a business entity in Hong Kong called Watermark Senior Living China Limited (Watermark China). In August 2015, Watermark China launched a fully owned office in Shanghai and recruited a talented, dedicated corporate team. One year later, Watermark formed a joint venture operating company with Taiping Insurance to manage Taiping’s senior living projects in China. A joint venture operating company also was formed with Hopson Commercial Group (one of the largest commercial real estate management businesses in China) to convert apartment properties into senior living in Foshan City of Guangdong Province. 

Today, Watermark China is the exclusive operating platform of Watermark in the greater China region (including mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau). Watermark China is committed to being a leading developer, owner, and operator in greater China.

The Watermark brand, expertise, and experience are being applied to senior living projects in China through consulting services, management contracts, and local partnerships. The Watermark China team is providing technical support and pre-opening services to two projects in China.

Watermark’s partners and projects are as follows:

  1. China Taiping Senior Living Management Company. TPSM is a subsidiary of China Taiping Insurance Company. TPSM has established a joint venture management company with Watermark. Taiping’s first showcase continuing care retirement community project of 1,500 residences is located in Pudong, Shanghai.

  2. Guangdong Hopson: Foshan Lerom Watermark International Senior Community is the first retirement community built by Hopson Commercial Group, located centrally to Guangzhou and Foshan. The first phase of the community includes 489 independent living and 40 assisted living apartments. The community also has a medical clinic and a clubhouse.

Contact to learn more.